Texas ready to sue to defend voter ID law

Dec. 28, 2011 at 9:16 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The Texas attorney general's office says it likely would go to federal court to defend its voter identification law if the U.S. Justice Department blocks it.

The announcement comes after the Justice Department last week rejected South Carolina's voter ID law, saying it would make it more difficult for minorities to vote. And the department's move led to predictions the Texas law could face a challenge from the federal government as well.

But the Texas attorney general's office noted the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law and in 2008 the Justice Department allowed Georgia's voter ID law, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.

"The Department of Justice's decision to deny [federal approval] to South Carolina's voter ID law is inconsistent with its own previous decisions and flies in the face of U.S. Supreme Court precedent," Texas AG's office spokeswoman Lauren Bean said.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has pledged to challenge the Justice Department decision in federal court, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appears likely to follow suit if his state's law is blocked.

"The Texas attorney general's office is prepared to take all necessary legal action to defend the voter ID law enacted by the Texas Legislature," Bean said.

The Texas law, signed in the summer by Gov. Rick Perry, requires Texans to show a valid state or federal photo ID to vote.

Texas and South Carolina, like some other states, are subject to federal approval of election law changes under the Voting Rights Act because of a history of racial discrimination.

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